Rural Living Day

Rural Living Day originally scheduled for April 4, 2020 at Mount View High School is now canceled.

Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation in Maine, UMaine Extension is making the decision to cancel indoor events of more than 20 attendees happening through April 6. We will process refunds as soon as possible. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Viña Lindley at or 207.342.5971.

Grandfather and Granddaughter on their Farm

Rural Living Day is an exciting annual event, typically the first Saturday in April, hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Waldo County Extension Association. A wide variety of workshops are offered each year by Extension staff and community volunteers on topics ranging from gardening, homesteading and alternative energy to food preservation, cooking, livestock and so much more.

Rural Living Day 2020

Saturday, April 4
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The 26th Annual Rural Living Day will be held on April 4, 2020 at Mount View High School, 577 Mount View Road (Rt 220), Thorndike. The $30 fee includes three workshops and lunch featuring locally sourced foods. Proceeds support a post-secondary scholarship for a graduating Waldo County high school senior.

4-H Basket Raffle

The Waldo County 4-H Leaders’ Association will be hosting a basket raffle at Rural Living Day. Be sure to stop by the 4-H table to check out the baskets of items that you could win! Tickets will be available for sale at the event, so be sure to bring your cash. The drawing will take place at the end of lunch, but you do not need to be present to win. All proceeds go to support 4-H programming in Waldo County. Many thanks to the individuals, organizations, and businesses who donated items for the raffle.


8:30 – 9:00      Check in (and coffee/tea in the cafeteria)
9:00 – 10:30    Session 1
10:45 – 12:15   Session 2
12:15 – 1:30     Lunch and 4-H Raffle
1:30 – 3:00      Session 3

Concurrent Workshops by Session

Session 1

1A – Grape ExpectationsDavid Handley

Grapes are a challenging crop to grow in Maine, but proper plant selection, and appropriate cultural practices can greatly improve your chance of success. This talk will offer tips on hardy grape varieties, trellising and pruning to help make grapes a rewarding part of your garden.

David Handley is an Extension Professor and Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist for the University of Maine. He has carried out berry and vegetable research and educational programs from his office at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth for over 36 years.

1B – Clean Energy for Every Home: Transitioning an Old Farmhouse off Fossil FuelsDavid Gibson

How can we transition to 100% clean energy in Maine? One house at a time. This workshop will look at how we transitioned a post and beam farmhouse built in 1828 entirely off of fossil fuels, and steps that can be replicated in every home statewide. We’ll also discuss steps that are needed for a statewide transition, like financing programs and door to door outreach.

David has more than a decade of experience implementing efficiency and clean energy programs in Nevada and Maine. He has transitioned two older homes to clean energy, and has helped countless others to make their homes more comfortable, efficient and affordable.

1C – Growing MicrogreensKate Hall

We will review Microgreens by definition, nutrition and ease of growing while offering an easy how-to approach to growing Microgreens and Shoots at home year round. We will go over a simple grow set up, recommend some seed varieties for all levels, and then we will get dirty! Everyone will have the opportunity to seed a tray and leave with instruction on how to grow and care for their soon to be beautiful Microgreens at home.

Kate Hall, owner of Graze in Northport and co-owner of the Alchemist plant-based wellness café in Belfast, has been growing for dozens of chefs and restaurants, farmers markets, and clients since 2016. Her passion is helping those with debilitating autoimmune diseases and health issues using Microgreens.

1D – An Overview of Browntail Moth in MaineTom Schmeelk

Everything from history in Maine, biology, current situation, management and mitigation strategies.

Tom Schmeelk has been a forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service since 2018, and previously worked for the Forest Health division in NY state for three years.

1E – Basics of Sourdough Bread MakingRay and Cindy Schofield

The Sourdough Basics class caters to those who are beginners at sourdough bread baking. Our class will start with sourdough bread tastings, just to ensure that you do not go hungry. During the 90-minute workshop we will discuss and demonstrate the entire process of sourdough bread making. First we will discuss how to use and feed your starter, then a few easy steps to maintain your starter in active and healthy condition. We will demonstrate step by step how to “build up” a starter, mix the dough, and shape the loaves. You will then be able to try your hand at shaping a small boule. We will discuss some of the differences in working with white, wheat, and rye flours and then show several baskets and containers that are used to proof the dough just prior to baking. Most importantly we will discuss baking techniques in the home oven and how you can fit sourdough bread baking into your busy schedule. As a bonus, we will have an “active” starter for you to bring home and begin sourdough bread making.

Ray and Cindy Schofield launched Back 40 Bakehouse in 2015. They have over time dedicated themselves to sourcing all ingredients organically. Back 40 Bakehouse was USDA certified organic by MOFGA in 2019 and is proud to offer their line of artisan breads as a healthy option throughout the midcoast.

1F – Yoga for Farmers and GardenersKathryn Jensen

Have you ever thought about stretching or doing some exercises before farming or gardening but not known where to start? Do you find yourself with injuries or worry about being injured from repetitive motion while farming or gardening? This workshop is focused on providing hands on experience and tools to support your ability to stretch and come into relationship with your body to stay healthy and mobile while gardening or farming. We will be having group discussion, mini lecture and practicing poses and stretches together.

Kathryn Jensen is a certified yoga instructor, 4-H Youth Development Professional, and provides support and labor to garden projects.

1G – Use of Homeopathic Remedies for Farm Critters: Livestock, Poultry, Pooches & Barn CatsHenrietta E. Beaufait, DVM, CVH

I will present a brief overview of basic homeopathic principles; define differences between acute and chronic disease in farm animals and pets; show how remedies can be used as treatment; and how to handle, administer, and store remedies.

I am a Michigan native and graduated from MSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. I had a food animal practice and raised my family in the Albion area. I became interested in homeopathy in 1996 when medicines were becoming less effective and residues were becoming increasingly dangerous.

Session 2

2A – Jack and the Beanstalk: Beans are a Wonder!Rosey Guest

Growing beans and background, the Sam Birch Bean Collection, bean seed swap, recipe sharing.

MOFGA-certified Bluebird Hill Farm in Jefferson

2B – Bats of North America: Facts and Fiction (everything you want to know about bats)David Yates

Bats are increasingly of high conservation concern to biological agencies and other entities. There are over 1300 (and counting) bat species in the world and 49 are found in North America. Bats require a complex mix of habitats, including old-growth wooded forests for roosting and open areas or wetlands for feeding. Therefore, the presence of these habitat types should be evaluated when considering bat conservation and bat presence/absence. Anthropogenic stressors, such as pesticides and heavy metals, may be compounded by other stressors such as wind turbines and white-nose syndrome (WNS), a syndrome that has been causing mass mortality among hibernating bats throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic states over the past decade.

Dave is a biologist for Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland, Maine where he has worked for over 20 years. He graduated from Unity College and has a M.Sc. from Antioch University New England.

2C – Off the Screens and Into the Garden: Ways to Involve Kids in the GardenDarcy Johnston (with David Wessels and Viña Lindley)

This session will focus on ways to involve kids, from pre-K through high school, in the garden. Garden educators will suggest activities to do with your child, lead participants in hands-on activities, and present information on local school gardens.

Darcy Johnston is the Elementary Teacher of Agricultural Projects at Mt. View Elementary School and the four outlying elementary schools in RSU 3. She works with all K-5 students on garden-related projects. Last year she and her students grew over 1,100 pounds of food for their school cafeterias!

2D – The State of the BirdsNick Lund

Learn about how populations of some of Maine’s more than 400 bird species have fluctuated over the years, and what’s behind the various changes. Finally, learn about how planting native plants is among the best ways to bring back Maine’s birds.

Born and raised in Falmouth, Nick Lund is Maine Audubon’s Outreach and Network Manager.

2E – The Joys of Making and Using Organic Apple Cider VinegarBob Sewall and Mia Mantello

We give an intro about our orchard—Maine’s oldest certified organic orchard still in existence—and then describe the making of our three-year, cold-aged apple cider vinegar.

Bob Sewall is founder of Sewall Organic Orchard, Maine’s oldest organic orchard still in operation. Known for delicious, unpasteurized apple cider, he’s become especially known for his aged apple cider vinegar, beloved by Maine chefs and used by many for culinary and health benefits.

2F – Rigging, Rolling & Raising: The Art of Moving Immovable ObjectsRobert Riversong

Before the days of motors, hydraulic lifts, and heavy machinery, homesteaders, mariners and workers improvised simple mechanical advantage systems to make hard work easy. Beginning with an introduction to ropes and knots, we will look at a variety of pulley systems, principles of leverage and friction reduction, anchoring systems, simple vector mechanics to understand directional forces, and personal safety issues.

Robert Riversong, in addition to 40 years of designing, engineering and building homes, has been a rock-climber, caver, and rope-rescue instructor and has used rope and mechanical advantage techniques at home, on the building site and in the woods, as well as in technical rescue.

2G – Sheep and Goat CareJacki Martinez Perkins

Learn the basics of sheep and goat care, the major differences, and some health practices to keep your herd or flock healthy.

As MOFGA’s Organic Dairy Specialist, Jacki has a strong background, as well as a formal education, in commercial dairy production. Her passions are focused around an addiction to livestock, and sustainably integrating them into the food systems of our future.

2H – Fungi in Maine: What are they doing?Seanna Annis

Fungi are an integral part of ecosystems in Maine and fit in various ecological niches. This workshop will discuss what fungi are doing in some of these important niches and their impacts on plants and other organisms.

Dr. Seanna Annis is Associate Professor of Mycology and Associate Extension Professor at University of Maine in Orono. She has studied fungal diseases of wild blueberries and other fungal problems in animals, insects and foods for over 35 years. She teaches courses on fungi and botany.

Session 3

3A – Cover Crops for Maine GardensCaragh Fitzgerald

Learn how cover crops can help you improve soil health, increase soil biological activity, suppress weeds, and reduce soil erosion in the home garden.

UMaine Associate Extension Professor, Agriculture

3B – Farming in the Presence of CarnivoresGeri Vistein

Come join us as we share with you the science we are learning about the value of carnivores who share our farms and landscapes with us, as well as the animal husbandry practices that enable our farmers to successfully raise their farm animals, while welcoming carnivore presence on their farm.

Geri Vistein is a Conservation Biologist at the Coyote Center for Carnivore Ecology and Coexistence. Her focus is carnivores and their vital role in maintaining the biodiversity of our planet. She focuses her work on educating our Maine community about carnivores, and how we can coexist with them.

3C – Labyrinths in the LandscapeYadina Clark

This workshop provides an overview of ancient and contemporary labyrinth history, use, and design as well as methods for creating labyrinths at a walkable scale. These meditative paths add beauty and meaning that can be tailored to your landscape and personal preferences. Scientific research has shown that meditative activities have significant long-term health benefits. Mindful awareness of the present moment can reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and encourage relaxation and insightful introspection.

Yadina Clark holds a Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia from the University of Maine, where she specialized in labyrinth design and permaculture. She is a labyrinth designer, researcher, and event facilitator, as well as a UMaine Cooperative Extension Administrative Specialist.

3D – “Bringing Nature Home” in MaineEric Topper

Like many places, the landscape of coastal Maine has changed dramatically. Today, gardens, yards, neighborhoods and towns are playing increasingly critical roles in supporting native food webs for birds, pollinators and other wildlife. Our individual efforts to support wildlife can be both intimately rewarding and broadly beneficial. With an overall focus on Maine birds and their habitats, Eric Topper will introduce what individuals and groups can do, including what plants to choose and how to manage and maintain our gardens for their full ecological function and benefit. Topper will also discuss the large selection of beautiful native flowers, shrubs and trees we can incorporate into our yards to attract and support a multitude of birds, butterflies and other interesting native wildlife.

Eric Topper is Maine Audubon’s Director of Education.

3E – The Delicious Mystery of Cheese – Eric Rector

We will discuss the biological and chemical magic that turns milk into cheese by viewing a quick demonstration that will illustrate the process, and then learning about the different processes that distinguish all kinds of cheeses and other fermented dairy products.

Eric Rector is the owner and state licensed cheese maker of Monroe Cheese Studios. He makes cows milk yogurt year-round, and cheese seasonally.

3F – Growing and Utilizing Hemp in the Home GardenJohn Jemison

I will cover how to effectively grow CBD hemp at home and how to harvest, dry, cure, and extract for your personal use.

I am an Extension Professor of Soil and Water Quality. I have been interested in CBD hemp production since learning about its potential health effects related to seizure disorders and other beneficial uses.

3G – Permaculture PetsKirsten Lie-Nielsen

Exploring the permaculture uses of traditional livestock on the small farm or homestead, going beyond “meat, eggs, and milk.”

Kirsten Lie-Nielsen is a writer and farmer from Liberty, Maine.

3H – Yield Expectation When Slaughtering Farm AnimalsDr. Colt W. Knight

Dr. Knight will discuss cutting yields and common misconceptions when slaughtering animals for meat. Attendees can expect to come away with a realistic understanding of how much meat to expect from Beef Cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. Dr. Knight will also discuss the differences between grass and grain finished animals, as well as, best management practices to optimize meat yield.

Dr. Knight is an Assistant Extension Professor for the University of Maine, and serves as the state livestock specialist. He has experience raising and managing beef, swine, sheep, goats, and chickens. Currently, he owns a small farm in Garland, ME, where he raises poultry and pigs on pasture.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. To request more information or a reasonable accommodation, call Viña Lindley at 207.342.5971 or 800-287-1426 in Maine.